What Happens After Filing N-400, Application for Naturalization
You did it! You filled out your entire Application for Naturalization (N-400), gathered up all of your supporting documents, wrote a check to pay the filing fee and sent everything off to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). So the hard part is over, right? Not necessarily. This is just the beginning.
After USCIS gets your application, there is another series of steps to go through before you can actually become a U.S. citizen. How long each one takes depends on a number of factors, including the unique circumstances of your case. Other factors that can influence processing times include the accuracy and thoroughness of your application and supporting documents, the USCIS caseload and the USCIS office where you filed your application.
On this page, we will review the standard processing stages for Form N-400 and the general timeline associated with one. Remember, each time frame given is merely an estimation.
Tip: Don’t forget to let USCIS know your new address if you move so you don’t miss any important notifications!
RECEIPT OF APPLICATION
If filed your Form N-400 correctly, the first notice you will get from USCIS is Form I-797, Notice of Action. You should receive it roughly two to three weeks after filing your application, and it confirms that the USCIS has received your application. If you didn’t file your Form N-400 correctly, you may also receive a Notice of Action to let you know that your petition has been rejected, accompanied by a Request for Evidence asking for additional items. Filing your Form N-400 correctly with all the appropriate supporting documentation will help you avoid this delay.
It is important to save this notice because it includes the 10-digit receipt number that you can use to check the status of your case. If you do not receive this notice, you should file a case inquiry.
Appointment Notice for Biometrics
Approximately three to five weeks after you file your application, you should get another notice from USCIS. This one will include detailed information about your biometrics appointment, such as the appointment date, time, and location. In most cases, you will be scheduled at the USCIS Application Support Center closest to you. Two things to keep in mind are that USCIS requires that all applicants to be fingerprinted as part of routine security and background checks; and you will not have to pay the biometrics fee if you are 75 or older.
This appointment, which is also called a biometrics screening, won’t take long. It lasts just long enough for USCIS to take your fingerprints, photograph, and get your signature. The appointment notice you received a few weeks prior to your appointment will include information about what you need to bring to the appointment. Be ready to show photo identification before entering the building. Your Green Card is preferred, but you may also use a:
- Passport or national photo ID issued by your country of origin
- State-issued photo ID
- Driver’s license
- Military photo ID
Appointment Notice for Naturalization Interview
After you go to your biometrics screening (appointment) you’ll get another notice from USCIS. This one will include all of the important information about your naturalization (citizenship) interview. Be sure to go to the appointment as schedule because changing it could result in lengthy delays.
Your interview is fast approaching, so you should be getting ready for it now! Read More
It is highly likely that the USCIS officer will review your answers from your Form N-400 to be sure they are all still correct during your interview. He or she will also use this opportunity to evaluate your English comprehension. You must also read and write a sentence in English and take the civics portion of the naturalization test (unless you have been granted any kind of exemption). The USCIS officer will also go over the results of your background check with you. This is the point at which he or she will question you about any unusual circumstances, such as arrests or back taxes.
At the end of the interview, USCIS will let you know about the status of your application. The Form N-652 will notify that your application has been:
✅ Granted. Your N-400 has been approved based on proof of your eligibility for naturalization.
⁉️Continued. USCIS cannot approve Your N-400 at this time because you failed a test or did not provide all the proper documents.
❌ Denied. USCIS denied Your N-400 because the agency could not establish your eligibility to naturalize.
If you feel USCIS has unfairly or inaccurately denied your petition, you can appeal the decision by filing Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Process.
NOTICE OF OATH CEREMONY
If your petition was approved at your interview, USCIS will give you a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance- N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. On this notice you will need to answer a few more questions to be submitted at the oath ceremony.
It is important that you make every attempt to attend the ceremony as scheduled. Failing to attend more than one scheduled ceremony may result in a denial of your application.
Oath of Allegiance Ceremony
This is the point at which you officially become a U.S. Citizen. You’ll do so by taking an oath of allegiance to the United States at a special ceremony presided over by a judge or administrative officer. After you have taken the oath, you will be able to surrender your Green Card and get your Certificate of Naturalization.
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